Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Both the Edmonson County Sheriff's Office and the Brownsville Police Department became a bit more protected today, thanks to a donation of approximately $7,000 worth of bulletproof vests from In-Vest USA.
Michael Letts, President and CEO of In-Vest USA, a charitable organization in South Carolina, said the company's mission is to help raise awareness of the fact that thousands of law enforcement officers and first responders are not fully equipped to properly and safely do their jobs and to raise funds to distribute free vests and equipment to first responders in communities across America.
"I tell people all the time, when you're running away from danger, they're running towards it," said Letts. "The least we can do as Americans is to show our support and our gratitude by making sure they have the proper equipment that they need to come home safely to their families."
Tuck Jones, the company's volunteer chief of staff, who is from Cave City, said he overheard a conversation at an area gas station about the budget crunch in Edmonson County but that Sheriff Shane Doyle needed better vests for his office.
"I thought wow, this is right here in my front door so I reached out to Sheriff Shane Doyle," said Jones. "I called him and told him who I was and about our vests and he said they were in a budget crunch right now. I told him I wasn't worried about the budget and I just wanted to help him get vests. He says, 'seriously? Wow, God bless you,' and we were able to get things going. He called me back a few days later and said, 'hey, I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but our city police don't have any either,' and I said we'd work on that. Normally we can give two or three to a department, but we felt like we needed to equip both agencies and cover everybody and we were able to donate ten vests."
Sheriff Doyle said he was extremely thankful that both his office and the Brownsville PD was able to receive such a gift.
"I appreciate Tuck going to bat for us because this is not something we had in our budget," he said at the presentation. "For In-Vest USA to step in and fill that need for us, it's truly a blessing. Everyone of our people, we go to work every day trying to protect the people we serve here in our county and this is going to help us better to do that."
Doyle said he was also thankful that there are charitable organizations like In-Vest USA that give back, especially in today's hostile climate against law enforcement.
"We never know what we're going to encounter from one day to the next," Sheriff Doyle said. "Overall, we know that our folks here support law enforcement, but to see a company that's willing to help a small place like Edmonson County and Brownsville is a real blessing."
Brownsville Police Jeff Jewel said much of the same.
"In-Vest USA has come in and provided protection to every law enforcement officer we've got here. What else can you say? That's huge for us and this county." He pointed to the other officers standing nearby.
"This is my family. These are my kids. I mean, once again, thank you."
Letts also asked to dismiss the presentation in a word of prayer before meeting with the media. He asked God to bless the donation and all the law enforcement officers that would wear them.
Several other first responders attended the presentation today that was held in the downstairs courtroom in the county courthouse.
The vests are rated to stop not only handgun ammunition, but also high powered rifle rounds. Each vest costs anywhere from $500 to $700 each.